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Remove mildew smell from towels

By on June 2, 2012
rolled towels


Dear Sara:

Our little bathroom has no window and just the exhaust fan to move the air around. It has nice shelves lining half of one wall, where we store our towels, linens and various bathroom items, but we have no linen closet. The trouble is that the linens pick up a mildew smell after about a week, even with consistent use of the exhaust fan during showers. Do you have any suggestions for keeping the mildew smell at bay? — A.L., Missouri

Dear A.L.:

I would store the towels in another place. I understand you don’t have a linen closet, but perhaps you can find space elsewhere to store a few towels. Rolling them can save space. At the very least, make sure the bathroom door stays open when you run your exhaust fan, so there’s more air circulating. While not exactly frugal, a heated towel rack could help, too. Your bathroom doesn’t have a window to allow sunlight or fresh air in, so the moisture from showers and darkness will continue to make your clean towels smell. To remove the odor, I suggest you run your towels through the washer in hot water, at the highest water level and use baking soda, washing soda, Borax or Charlie’s Soap ( instead of your usual laundry detergent. Use vinegar in a double rinse cycle. Make sure the towels dry thoroughly, too.

Dear Sara:

I am starting a nutrition/weight loss program and am looking to find a cheaper source for OhYeah! and Supreme brand protein bars. I can find them locally for $2 and $2.25 each. Any help would be greatly appreciated! — Kim, Alabama

Dear Kim:

Without getting preachy over protein alternatives and the fact that these bars are relatively high in calories and carbs (Chocolate? Caramel? Peanut butter?) and are not to be considered a meal replacement or a complete nutrition bar, I’ll stick to what you’re asking and simply give you a source. Amazon offers the OhYeah! brand in 12-count packages and the Supreme brand in 9- and 12-count packages that are substantially cheaper per bar than what you are currently finding locally.

Dear Sara:

I replaced the blinds in my bedroom. Do you know of any ways I could re-use the old mini-blinds? — Lisa, Pennsylvania

Dear Lisa:

You can cut the slats and make plant ID markers. You can use them in your seedling pots or in your actual garden. I suppose you could get creative and make some bookmarks, or cut them into small gift tags. Or you can simply donate them.

Dear Sara:

Any suggestions on a way to store extra rolls of toilet paper in a small bathroom? — Paula, Illinois

Dear Paula:

You can store a roll in a square facial tissue box, or in a basket, cylindrical vase, plastic coffee container or popcorn tin. Or try an upright, stand-alone paper towel rack for toilet-paper storage.

Dear Sara:

My toddler opened and spilled a box of cake mix. There’s still some in the box, but it’s not full. Any ideas on how I could use it? — Lori, New York

Dear Lori:

You can use it in pancakes (, waffles, cookies or Rice Krispies treats ( You can also find numerous recipes for cake mixes on the Pillsbury, Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines websites.

photo by tanakawho

One Comment

  1. Lisa

    6/25/2013 at 2:56 pm

    I know that my sugestion is not the most frugal way to get the mildew smell out of towels and clothes but it works, I add 1/2 cup of fabreez to my washer when I have clotes or towels that are musty smelling

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